Project Shine has been going on long enough that many schools in the Independence School District are receiving their second round of summer spruce-ups.
The annual community volunteer event, which started in 2008 when buildings taken in from the Kansas City School District needed an emergency cleanup to prep them for the upcoming school year, is 7 a.m. Saturday at four ISD schools:
• Bryant Elementary, 827 W. College St.
• Korte Elementary, 2437 S. Hardy Ave.
• Procter Elementary, 1403 W. Linden Ave.
• Pioneer Ridge Middle School, 1656 S. Speck Road.
After that first mass cleaning in 2008, officials decided to make it an annual summer event, rotating among a handful of the district's 29 schools buildings. (The 30th school, Cassell Park Elementary, opens this summer.) Most of the work involves painting, cleaning and landscaping.
“We'll have people that ask for it: 'What school is it at? When is it?' We'll get that in March,” ISD Foundation Director Amy Knipp said. “I was at one school talking about preparations for this, and they were able to reference a previous time when they had Project Shine.”
“We have so many churches and community groups that come in and donate time. I'm always amazed that community feeling from 11 years ago is still there. It adds to that small-town feel of Independence.”
Knipp said the district anticipates close to 1,000 volunteers Saturday, about half of whom have signed up. Volunteers are invited to sign up at ourisdf.org, but walk-ups are welcome at one's school of choice.
A fifth building, Bridger Middle School, 18200 E. Missouri 78, is hosting summer school now and will get cleaned up July 6. Knipp said a group of volunteers has already committed to cover that date, as well.
Over 11 years, all the volunteer hours – more than 60,000 – and monetary and material donations for clean-ups have saved the district more than $500,000. This year, district has 1,100 gallons of paint and nearly 80,000 pounds of rubber mulch ready to be used. A couple area business will donate food for volunteers.
“The facilities department, they've learned how to prep the buildings, so we're able to do so much in a short time,” Knipp said. “They've taped off for painting, and the landscaping is ready to go.”
“We always say it lasts 7 to 1, but usually it goes shorter than that.”